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[dav-it, dey-vit] /ˈdæv ɪt, ˈdeɪ vɪt/
any of various cranelike devices used singly or in pairs for supporting, raising, and lowering especially boats, anchors, and cargo over a hatchway or side of a ship.
Origin of davit
1325-75; Middle English daviot < Anglo-French, apparently diminutive of Davi David Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for davit
Historical Examples
  • So, so, an' did davit Lunan mak oot 'at there was humour in that?

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie
  • This was proved by davit Lunan, tinsmith, whom I have heard tell the story.

    Auld Licht Idylls

    J. M. Barrie
  • "Trussed him up to the davit pole," he breathed in the inspector's ear.

    The Pit Prop Syndicate Freeman Wills Crofts
  • But as it went Mayo clutched a davit pulley and swung in midair.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • The lashing which secures the davit to the shrouds when out of use.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • As soon as we are all clear, wear round—Let run that davit fall?

    There She Blows! William Hussey Macy
  • The davit blocks were treble for the lifeboats and double for the cutters.

    Loss of the Steamship 'Titanic' British Government
  • It was hanging by the after davit, a mere bunch of smashed sticks.

    Command William McFee
  • Then he moved off to a davit, and climbed the mizzen shrouds to the top-mast.

    The Sea and the Jungle H. M. Tomlinson
  • Touch the tackling of the davit, one of you; only touch it, and I'll cleave your skull.

British Dictionary definitions for davit


/ˈdævɪt; ˈdeɪ-/
a cranelike device, usually one of a pair, fitted with a tackle for suspending or lowering equipment, esp a lifeboat
Word Origin
C14: from Anglo-French daviot, diminutive of Davi David
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for davit

also david, "crane-like structure used to lower things off a ship, etc.," late 15c., apparently a use of the masc. proper name David on the pattern of applying common Christian names to useful devices (cf. jack, jenny, jimmy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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